Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Brooks Hyperion Tempo Review: a Very Light, Super Foamed, Durable "Workhorse"

Article by Derek Li and Sam Winebaum

Brooks Running Hyperion Tempo ($150)
Weight:: men's 7.3 oz/ 207 g (US9)   6.7 oz / 190g women's / (US8)
  Samples: 7.06 oz /200 g men’s US8.5, 7.55oz / 215g men’s US9.5
Offset: 8mm 

Available late February 2020.  $150

Derek: I think Brooks hasn’t had any new really good lightweight shoes for a few years now. Even the original Hyperion, while bouncy, had a tricky fit that didn’t work for a lot of people. Now that Olympic season is upon us once again, it is exciting to see what Brooks has been developing. I used to be sponsored by Brooks back in 2013/2014, and had some great results in the Brooks Green Silence and PureConnect 2. Their later offerings kind of missed the marks for me. With these new models in the sub-8 oz range, I was very hopeful they could build on the success of their older racers and catch back up with the front runners of racing flats. 

Sam: The exciting news for me here is that Brooks joins the "super foam" games with DNA Flash a nitrogen infused, much lighter and somewhat bouncier flavor of their BioMoGo DNA foam. The result is a 7.3 oz / 207 g very adequately cushioned up tempo trainer with copious rubber coverage.

Derek: Lightweight
Derek/Sam: Well ventilated upper
Sam: Very substantial upper with great hold for such a light shoe and upper.
Derek/Sam: Good vibration dampening quality
Sam: Plentiful slightly bouncy fun cushion
Sam: Copious durable rubber for such a light shoe.

Derek: The stretchy laces make the lockdown a bit sloppy for me. 
Derek: Outsole rubber is a bit slippery
Sam: Firm thick heel rubber is overdone and leads to a firm outsole feel, if a highly responsive one Forefoot rubber is extensive and could be more segmented for a snappier toe off. Both of these factors likely also contribute to weight.

Tester Profiles

Derek is in his 30’s and trains 70-80 miles per week at 7 to 8 minute pace in mostly tropical conditions in Singapore. He has a 2:41 marathon PR.
Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 62 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 165 lbs.

First Impressions and Fit
Derek: The aesthetics are spot on for this shoe. The blue midsole has a somewhat shiny appearance and really pops in contrast to the black upper. The shoe fit is generous, and is in fact a bit longer than a typical US9.5 by Brooks standards but does not make the shoe feel sloppy. I would still put this shoe as true to size. The step in feel is still very comfortable for a lightweight trainer/racer. There is plenty of padding around the heel and the thin upper just disappears on your foot. The lack of plate is noticeable as an easy flexion of the shoe though the toe joints. The early squeeze test really reminds me of the Skechers Razor 3, though a little firmer. Very promising start!
Sam: A classy look with some bright pop in color from the shiny blue midsole and subtle blueish white accents in the upper. Way more appealing than all those black uppers with white midsoles. The fit is perfectly true to size for me and I do agree with Derek a tiny touch long, not really noticed on the run . When tried on the feel is not the softest particularly at the rear but is all business. I would call the upper a “comfort” high performance upper.

Derek: The meat of the extra padding is around the heel. The rest of the upper is just a single layer fabric with linear perforations confined to the forefoot. 
There is an internal toe bumper keep things propped up over the toes. This upper is actually relatively basic and complemented by a thin suede tongue. 

However as a racer/trainer upper it works very well! The heel counter is semi-rigid and combines well with the generous padding around the heel and ankle to give a good easy lockdown. The thin upper is very well ventilated. I took my shoes for a 20 miler in 80+ F / 27 C degree weather and had no issues with hotspots of heat build up in the shoe. The laces have little ridges similar to those found in the Hyperion Elite. I have to say I prefer a more conventional lace. The elasticity of the laces made it hard to eliminate that last little bit of sloppiness and I felt it on some downhill sections where my foot was sliding forward. During my long run in this shoe, I had to re-tighten my laces twice because they stretched more as they got wet with sweat. At the end of the run there was still excess play in the laces. This is my only gripe on an otherwise excellent upper. 
Sam: A wonderful light upper that secures the foot with performance shoe hold but near trainer comfort. You just lace them up and go and I have never had to adjust on the run, rare for light shoes although my test runs were in conditions near and below freezing The front is a bit scratchy and with a touch of a crease feel over the toes at the end of the laces, the rear achilles is quite rigid at its top and a bit scratchy in feel but surfaced no issues and everything holds incredibly well.
Recall this is a very light shoe and really not sure how Brooks pulled off such as substantive upper at such light weights.


Sam: The DNA Flash midsole is Brooks BioGoDNA infused with nitrogen which creates resilient bubbles within. It is super light and with more bounce than the usual BioMoGo DNA but not as much bounce as Boost or PWRUN+ now coming to Saucony shoes such as the Freedom 3. It reminds a bit of a silkier lighter RMAT a foam used by Hoka in the long gone and great Huaka. It approaches Skechers Hyper Burst in feel but is not quite as springy and is more firmly responsive. I agree with Derek below hat there is less bounce at slower paces likely due to all the extensive rubber coverage particularly at the heel which masks the great qualities of this midsole somewhat.

Derek: The is a single layer of injection molded EVA. The midsole still reminds me a bit of BioMoGo in terms of softness, and is reminiscent most of the Green Silence in terms of underfoot feel. The main difference for me is there is a little bit of extra bounce to the foam that shines most at medium to faster paces. This bounce is not so obvious at easy run pace. There is a very good long axis flex across the shoe, courtesy of the deep groove running the length of the midsole, and that makes the pronation part of the stride quite easy. I will elaborate on this below. 

Derek: There is extensive rubber coverage here in both the forefoot and the heel. The rubber seems to be a firmer compound than your usual blown rubber so expect your durability to be good here. There are lots of little grooves in the forefoot that contribute to very good overall forefoot flexibility in this shoe. In terms of grip, it works fine on tarmac and concrete surfaces, but as my shoes got wet towards the end of my run, they started to get this skidding sound at the initial part of the power phase of the stride, i.e. there would a an initial squeak before the rubber would catch and I would move forward. I noticed this in both shoes and it got rather annoyingly loud on tiled surfaces, like pedestrians would turn around from the squeaking before I passed them. I do find feel unstable on wet surfaces, and I think this is more a feature of the rubber compound than a sign of poor grip. I continue to hold out hope that as the rubber wears down a bit that the squeaking will go away. 

Sam: The rubber gets in the way of the ultimate performance and feel of the shoe adding to weight and causing some other issues. At the heel the rubber creates a firm very stable landing. At the forefoot while the feel is fine it is not segmented across the shoe enough for me creating a long flex, not super stiff but without a distinct forward toe off with the flex point...where the rubber starts so quite far back. All this rubber stabilizes for sure but may be overdone. This said it should last many many miles for such a light shoe 

Derek: If you have come this far in the review and are expecting a mind-blowing bouncy ZoomX killer, sorry to disappoint but Brooks don’t roll that way. They still tend to prefer stable feeling foams. They did have bouncy shoes once upon a time (think PureCadence 3, and PureFlow in certain years) but their core consumer market didn’t take to it so well. It is not all bad. This shoe is butter smooth with a firmer solid bounce in the forefoot that is very noticeable just before toe-off, and you really feel it at moderate-Tempo type paces. More importantly, this shoe does not beat you up. I took it very early on for my week’s long run, and did 33km instead of my intended 30km, mainly because the shoe feels so easy at moderate paces. I really felt like I was jogging. It is incredibly stable and handles cornering well. The long axis flex of the shoe really lets you land supinated and transition to a neutral mid-stance position quite easily. This is sometimes an issue with shoes with more stack or use firm outsole rubber giving it a blocky transition. 

The Tempo picks up pace very easily. When I lean in and lengthen my stride, the shoe responds easily. The overall balance of the shoe is very good despite using a very thin upper. All in all, a very pleasant running experience that I can see a lot of people using as a daily trainer. 

My main gripe is in 2 areas. Firstly, the laces need to be replaced with conventional cotton type laces. I am going to get some white or light blue laces and really make the shoe pop. The stock elastic laces don’t let me have a solid lockdown on this shoe. Secondly, the sockliner for my US9.5 is sized for US8.5-9.5 and really runs just a smidge short allowing it to move around a little in the shoe. This might be because this is a sample pre final final production. Usually Brooks sock liners are solid to the point that I would re-use them in other branded shoes, but they are normally sized a little bit large for the shoe size so it really stays put. This time I think the sockliner could use being an extra 10mm longer and really giving a more secure position in the shoe. I plan to either swap in another Brooks sockliner or just glue down the existing one. 
Sam: A workman-like "workhouse" solid ride in a very light shoe with a great new midsole foam. A ride for doing hard workouts. Stable and very responsive off the heel the decoupling and transitions from there to mid foot are excellent, the cushion more than adequate despite a fairly firm feeling landing) at the heel due to all the rubber back there, especially a slower paces and in cold as I found out on my first run at 13 F with things only somewhat softer up in the lower 40’s F.  My ground contact times are low in this shoe. It is when you get to toe off that things aren’t ideal for me. Not really that stiff, not rockered either, but lacking in front of the shoe final toe off flex for me. Moderate paces felt great, slow paces firm at the heel, and faster paces more labored putting the ride squarely in daily training land given the ample cushion and comfortable ride so at… moderate Tempo paces for me. I guess I am getting spoiled by the rockered dynamism of new geometries with and without plates. Fast and capable, the ride is a bit labored and firm for me when a relatively stiff front of the shoe combines with not much rocker.  
Conclusions and Recommendations
Derek: It is always hard to compare different shoes as they have different design elements, but the carbon plate has become such a big part of what drives the ride, that it becomes almost unfair to compare plated and non-plated carbon shoes on the same scale. $150 is on the higher end of the spectrum. It’s $10 short of a Nike Zoom Fly 3, a very fine trainer that runs way faster than its advertised weight, and $30 shortb of the very formidable Hoka Carbon X. Significantly, it is $20 more than a Skechers Razor 3, which is a category killer as far as lightweight trainers go. In short, you really need to pack some punch to justify your price tag. I think the best way to describe the ride of the Hyperion Tempo is as a cross between the foam of the Skechers Razor 1, the stack of the NB Beacon and the conventional geometry of ASICS Roadhawk FF2.
It has that subtle bounce, good vibration dampening while still retaining traditional high drop geometry. And the best part is that it packs all that durability into a 7.3 oz size 9 package. This is a very big step forward for Brooks. 
Derek’s Scores
vs. all shoes in this weight class 8.5 / 10
Ride 40% 8 Fit 40% 9 Value 10% 8 Style 10% 9
vs. non-plated shoes in this weight class 9 / 10
Ride 40% 9 Fit 40% 9 Value 10% 9 Style 10% 9

Sam: I agree with Derek, a big step forward for Brooks with Tempo a durable, substantial shoe at a very low weight. Yet also pure Brooks too in its stability, copious rubber and solid workmanship, too much maybe, to create a truly exciting dynamic ride for me. The ride is kinda of old school conservative given all the rubber and its firmness and with not much rocker but is really jazzed up by the wonderful DNA Flash midsole in the mix which shines if not as much as it could given the geometry and outsole in its response, cushion and bounce all, if you will, in nice even thirds. 

I score it high for value due to expected durability but wish it was a touch softer or less extensive in heel and forefoot rubber with more front segmentation or better yet plastic plated and rockered more. This might give it more snap on toe off providing more comfort and ride versatility to bridge to nor only daily training but also racing for me by letting the DNA Flash shine more!

But after all the shoe is named Tempo and for that and I think heavy duty longer intervals as well as racing it is one solid protective and stable shoe at very light weight for all its substance
Sam’s Score’s Score: 9.0 / 10
Ride 50% 8.8 Fit 30% 9 Value 10% 9 Style 10% 9.5
Watch Sam's Initial Run Impressions and Shoe Details Video

Comparisons Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Brooks Hyperion (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Hyperion is a softer, bouncier shoe but has much lower stack so there is more ground feel. By contrast, the Tempo really feels much more cushioned with a lot more underfoot rubber. 

Even though the weight difference is quite small, I prefer the Hyperion for short workouts and short races, while the Tempo is more of a lightweight trainer by feel. The Tempo also appears to be significantly more durable. It should be pointed out that the Hyperion has a much snugger feel to it compared to the Tempo, whose fit is quite roomy.

Brooks Hyperion Elite (RTR Initial Review)

Sam: The Hyperion Elite has more cushion, is stiff and is carbon plated. It is considerably more expensive at $250. I find it yet yet more stable than the Tempo. It weighs about 0.5 oz less than the Tempo. Its upper is lighter and as such has a touch more volume. The foam is an infused EVA so maybe similar to Hyper Burst in process but a touch less springy, more dense and more responsive in feel of course there is also more outsole rubber here than say the Skechers Speed Elite but less than the Tempo.The plate is not noticed and the outsole more seamless in feel than in the Tempo. The ride is more marathon pace focused for me than high speed with notable stability and support under foot with a flatter rocker feel more similar to the Next% than say the Skechers Speed Elite. 

Brooks Launch (RTR Review)
Derek: I wear US9.5 in both models, but it must be pointed out that the last Launch i had extensive mileage in was the Launch 4. Overall, the Launch tends to be slightly shorter in 9.5 than the Tempo so take that for what it’s worth. The Tempo is slightly softer underfoot than any of the previous Launch models i tried, and is smoother through the stride, though i cannot quite pinpoint the reason for that because both have good grooves through the outsole. It is likely that the EVA in the Tempo simply lends itself to a smoother flex. The Tempo is the better shoe by far because it has the smoother ride and is the more versatile and lighter shoe.
Sam: Agree with Derek here. While a great value at $100 and $50 less the Tempo is way lighter, has a much more lively faster ride, better midsole foam and upper. No contest if you are a Brooks fan the lightweight trainer to get is the Tempo.

Brooks Revel 3 (RTR Review)
Sam: The Revel 3 sat as Brooks’ lively uptempo shoe for the last year or so. It is bouncier, less stable, and has a less secure upper and weighs more. All of this said its ride is more about fun than the serious Tempo ride. You will get more protection, more stablity and more response out of the Tempo, at 1.5 oz less weight and a well justified $50 more. 

adidas adizero adios 5 (RTR Review)
Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Tempo is lighter, and significantly more cushioned underfoot. That said, i feel like the Adios 5 is an easier shoe to do quick bursts of speed in, maybe because the upper a bit more snug-fitting. A lot of people are going to find that the Tempo has much better vibration dampening than the Adios 5, and overall the Tempo would be a more versatile lightweight trainer. 
Sam: The Tempo is way lighter, more comfortable on foot and at the forefoot underfoot, more balanced in feel front to back but lacking the forward snap and flex of the Adios while its heel, due to all that rubber feels firmer and has more pop.

ASICS EvoRide (RTR Review)
Sam: The heavier, firmer Evo is distinguished from the Tempo in having a much more pronounced rocker and being stiffer. Put that rocker on the Tempo and it would be a dream to run I think. 

ASICS DS Trainer 25
Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Tempo has more cushioning and vibration dampening. Both shoes have equally durable outsoles and generous fit. The DS Trainer has a bit more stability on the medial side but the Tempo is plenty stable for people who only need light stability. Overall, the Tempo is still the more versatile shoe to own. 

Nike Zoom Elite (RTR Review)
Derek: I wear US10 in the Zoom Elite 9/10 and US9.5 in the Tempo. The Zoom Elite has the softer and bouncier underfoot feel overall, especially in the forefoot, BUT has noticeably less cushioning so you may start to feel a bit more beat up in longer runs. The Tempo is lighter, and has more durable outsole rubber, but has a less lively forefoot. It’s a tough toss-up here. I think mid-forefoot strikers will still prefer the Zoom Elite for the bouncy forefoot, but heel strikers will appreciate the traditional drop of the Tempo more.

Nike Zoom Streak (RTR Review)
Derek: The Last Streak i used was the Streak 6. I wear US10 in the Streak 6 and 9.5 in the Tempo. The Streak is really a completely different type of shoe, more of a pure racer with more ground feel and a bouncy forefoot courtesy of the thick blown rubber. The Tempo has a noticeably higher stack, and a firmer rubber outsole so the feel is less dynamic, but more stable, and definitely more cushioned and more durable. I think the Streak is better compared to the original Hyperion than the new Tempo.

New Balance FuelCell Rebel (RTR Review)
Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. The Tempo is the more cushioned option here, though both have plenty of stack. I find the Rebel easier to wind up the pace, but the Tempo seems better for longer slower efforts. Both have similar weights, and fit. The Tempo is the more durable option.

Reebok Floatride Fast (RTR Review)
Derek: I wear US9.5 in both shoes. I find the Tempo noticeably more cushioned than the Fast, and much more tolerable for training runs. The Fast maybe a better option for racing as it has a more snug performance fit, and is almost a full ounce lighter. 

Skechers Razor 3 Hyper (RTR Review)
Derek: I wear US9.5 for both shoes. The Razor 3 is a softer bouncier shoe with a lower to the ground feel. I actually find that it is too little shoe for longer efforts, and that’s where the Tempo wins. The Razor 3 is one of my all-time favourite shoes for workouts at 5-10k interval pace because the foam keeps you fresh despite multiple hard efforts but i find that the cushioning is a bit lacking for efforts >10 miles.

Skechers GOmeb Speed 6 Hyper (RTR Review)
Derek: I wear US9.5 for both shoes. The Speed 6 is actually more like the Streak 6 and original Hyperion. It is lower to the ground and the bounce of the shoe is less prominent due to the lower stack. It is wickedly light and would be a great option for 10k or shorter. The Tempo has more of a lightweight trainer feel than a racer, despite the low weight. 

Skechers Speed Elite (RTR Review)
Derek: I wear US9.5 for Tempo and US10 for Speed Elite. The Speed Elite has a softer heel and a better rockered forefoot, but durability will be its Achilles’ heel. If durability were better, i would consider it for longer workouts, but as is, it is probably just a race day option. The Tempo has loads of durability and a stable predictable, slightly bouncy underfoot feel, that would serve well for long workouts.
Sam: I concur with Derek and would add that for me Speed Elite is purely for racing for me, while Tempo is for faster training and could also be a race shoe for many I will reach for other race options of the more rockered and snappier variety.
The Brooks Hyperion Tempo releases Feb 27, 2020

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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Unknown said...

I too loved the Pure Connect series. Shame that they killed it off.

I was hoping that there would be a comparison between this shoe and the New Balance TC at the end. Any chance of seeing that?

Jim said...

Still trying to figure out what justifies the $150 price tag...Rincon weight, but with big-milage durability something like a Glycerin???

Sam Winebaum said...

Very different and not really comparable TC IMO For sure heavier by 2 oz, plated with carbon and rockered, bouncier and for me faster and more fun. Tempo a super light very adequately cushioned more traditional shoe.

Sam, Editor

Sam Winebaum said...

Much more outsole rubber at equivalent weight for starters. More stable and with a superior upper for me.
Sam, Editor

Andrew McIver said...

How does it compare to the Asteria?

Bach Pham, MA said...

Just want to say I'm super impressed by how fast and consistent you turn out reviews. Greatly appreciated.

Mike said...

Sam, another superb review. Thank you. You mention that the toe-off lacks snap. Would you say it is better than the toe-off on the Skechers GRR8? I find the GRR8 a bit flat and hard work compared to the Boston 8, and was hoping the Hyperion Tempo would suit me better.



Anonymous said...

Thanks, RTR, for all the great reviews! For do-it-all marathon training, would you recommend the Hyperion Tempo or the well reviewed Sonic 3 Balance? Best, Paul

Sam Winebaum said...

Thanks Mike! I agree with you Ride 8 is stiff and hard to toe off especially as the pace picks up. The Tempo if for sure easier to toe off but has a longer flex than the Boston which has that forward flex point that I like in a faster shoe if it isn't heavily rockered or plated.

Thanks Anonymous,
The Sonic 3 Balance is clearly for me and should be for most a better choice for a marathon training all around shoe. More vibration attenuation, somewhat more cushion, more stable but still a fast responsive ride. If you want something in between the two look at the new adidas SL20 initial review linked below
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews.
Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated!

Sam Winebaum said...

Thank you very much bachtalking! Much appreciated by me and the team!
Sam, Editor
Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! See our page with links 100’s of in depth shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews.
Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated!

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Jim,
$150 price tag. Yes Rincon type weight trainer durability.

Hi Andrew,
Despite its stable firm heel rubber the Tempo is not as firm at the rear as the Asteria. Not quite the support stability but getting there. A much more pleasant modern springy midsole for Tempo
Sam, Editor

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Unknown,
Compared to TC. Tempo is much lighter, non plated, not as bouncy or as cushioned. TC far more versatile despite weight.
Sam, Editor

Kyle said...

For someone who is unwilling to drop $250 on a shoe with a carbon plate, is the Hyperion Tempo a race-friendly alternative?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Kyle,
Yes it is if you prefer a more traditional kind of ride in a durable firmer yet very well cushioned very light shoe shoe, more workhorse than fun. For about the same money and a bit heavier the Saucony Endorphin Speed is more fun, a bit softer and easier on the legs. Also as with Tempo somewhere between trainer and racer in feel. Depends on preferences though. Speed review here:
Sam, Editor

NYC Running said...

For me the shoe is pretty average. The only positive is the weight and thats all. Definitely its overpriced, if Brooks priced it at $110 it will be better but you can't do an average $150 shoe in 2020. Cmon. Full details here:

Vaad said...

So despite weight savings, the engineering isn't quite at the race ready as Adios 5? Hopefully this helps readers/reviewers: I have RC1400V6 & Adios4 At 1oz heavier the Adios is more efficient as a result faster. The slight late heel strike I have directs me forward in Adios 4 while in the lateral heel bias of the 1400 it puts too much waste supinating.
I believe this analogy is key to the VF, Next% as they are very curved to promote pronation which then creates propulsion forward...just my thoughts and since old VF or Next % never have sales I was looking at ahyperion tempo.
In the end this Hyperion Tempo is an upgraded launch 6? Definitely not a bad thing but I believe for HM and under Adios and maybe asics TartherEdge (sleeper?) Does it for inexpensive racers.

Anonymous said...

How do you compare Hyperion Tempo and Pegasus Turbo 2?

Michael said...

@Anonymous - I didn’t test the Tempo in time for the full review, but have since put about 150 miles on a pair. They’re similar shoes... ultimately I think I prefer the Turbo 2, but you can’t really go wrong. The Tempo is a little firmer and more rigid, and the Turbo has that signature “trampoline” effect of the ZoomX (squishy, but also propulsive). The uppers are both very good - very thin, very comfortable. The heel collar on the Tempo is perhaps slightly nicer. I found the Tempo to run very slightly narrow, though.

Anonymous said...

Hi, excellent review, as usual.
How does it compare to the Brooks Ricochet (1 or 2)?
I'm breaking in the Ricochet and my feeling are very similar to what you wrote (not the same weight).
What your thoughts about Hyperion Tempo vs Ricochet?